Provided for Discussion and Comment by Councillors
Not to be Released Prior to Council Meeting
My dear fellow Councillors of the Freelands, greetings to you! In recent months it has become clear to me that our nascent Nation would benefit greatly from a Codified Body of Laws, to be Distributed and Explained to all of our Citizens, which explicitly detail their Rights and Duties, and which are binding not only on the Citizens, but also on Councillors ourselves.
Accordingly I present to you the following Draft, which is my Suggestion as to what Laws we might, as a full Council, see fit to enact. I welcome Discussion and Comment.
There are several Vital Principles from which, like a Tree from Soil, our Laws must spring. Firstly, the Laws must be Fair. They must be equally binding upon all Citizens, however high or low their rank, however Rich or Poor, however Magical or mundane, however Odious their Crimes may be and however Glorious their Deeds may have been in the past. In particular We Ourselves as Councillors must be bound by our Law.
Secondly, the Laws must be Clear. They must be, as far as possible, comprehensible upon one Reading to a Person of Ordinary Intellect. My Time is not well-spent explaining difficult and abstract Laws to people; it is better to spend that time Drafting them Properly in the First Place.
Thirdly, the laws must be Explicit. Ambiguity and Argument over Laws will attract Lawyers to our Nation. While Lawyers have their place in life and are most Capable of Contribution to the resolution of Disputes, a Lawyer bereft of Useful Activities must surely turn their Mind toward the Creation of Disputes where none exist and the Escalation of Disputes which might otherwise blow over. It is ever so in other Nations and it will be so in Ours.
Fourthly, the Laws must be Minimal. I do not propose that we burden our Citizens with Regulations about the sizes of handcarts and the length of fishing rods. Rather than resolve such Disputes within the Law, I propose instead that we create a Mechanism by which Disputes between Citizens may be resolved. A Law restraining Merchants from Cheating their Customers is sufficient in itself – there is no need for a long list of what does and does not constitute Cheating.
Fifthly, the Laws must prompt our Citizens toward Good and away from Evil. There is little point in simply hoping that our Citizens, out of Common Sense and Common Decency alone, will give generously to the Poor, and trade Honestly with each other, and refrain from Murder or Theft or Rape or sundry other Crimes. Good Laws make Good People, and Good People make Good Laws. If an Action is so Vile that we would have the Perpetrator punished, then there ought be a Law against that Action. Similarly if an Action is so Vital to the Good Order and the Happiness of Citizens that those who fail to perform it ought to be punished, then there must likewise be a Law compelling that Action. Laws, however well-meant, that are found to prompt Citizens towards unrighteous deeds must not remain upon our Books of Law. Similarly, unrighteous deeds that offend and harm the Citizens must have Laws passed forbidding them, and quickly!
So with these Principles in Mind, I present this Draft.